Lower School renovation aims for multi-purposed spaces

Construction begins on new Meeting House, high-tech classrooms, and outdoor learning spaces


Emilia Khoury, Staff Writer

By 2025, Lower School (LS) students will attend assemblies in the new Meeting House, learn in the larger, high-tech classrooms in the modernized Brick Building filled with interactive areas beyond desks and a whiteboard, and exercise in the new gym.

This future comes from the LS remodeling, which includes building new classrooms, a lunchroom, an updated gathering space, and more outdoor recreational spaces by maximizing the existing footprint.

The last LS renovation was of the Lehner Center in 2001, Cynthia Westerman, an administration member overseeing the upcoming renovations, said.

“Overall, the campus reorganization puts buildings at the new edge with multipurpose community space in the new main meeting house, modernizing and expanding learning environments,” she said.

The decision to renovate the LS was unanimously agreed upon by administrators several years before the pandemic. The project has been a combined effort on the part of the administration, LS Director Anthony Repucci, and LS faculty.

Ms. Westerman said the school wants to construct a welcoming multi- purpose community space that will improve students’ lunch, gym, and overall experience.

“[The goal is to create] more spaces to do outdoor learning that is not just sitting on the bench but having structures to encourage students to be digging, watching, and exploring what happens in the world. Outdoor learning space is a big piece to the renovation that shifts from typical indoor learning,” she said.

In the Brick Building, instead of having one grade and half of another grade on each floor, there will be one grade per floor. For example, there will be two larger classrooms with breakout space in between instead of three classrooms. This allows for teachers to come in and work with a group of 10 students or their pods. The remodeling will also make the Markham Building primarily for sixth graders.

While large changes didn’t seem like a necessity, LS alumna Alisa Ishii ’23 said she believes small changes are needed. She said the floor in the art room had become old and dome- shaped so when she dropped her paintbrush, it would roll to a sunken center.

“I wish I had the changes of the future campus even though I treasure my memories at the LS. I would have loved to use the art room and new facility,” she said.

The school is in the schematic- design phase and will start the design- development phase this coming fall. Once the construction phase begins, the school hopes to complete it by 2025.

During the construction phase, there will not be any disruption to the community or neighborhood. The renovations aim to make the campus more eco-friendly, sustainable, and accessible.